Member Profile

Fortunato Chua

Coffee machine technician
Member since 1992
Francis Drake № 376
Peninsula № 168
Phoenix № 144

By Ian A. Stewart

California Freemason: You’ve been a Mason for more than 30 years. What’s kept you interested all that time?
Fortunato Chua: I was raised as a Master Mason by the Chinese Acacia Club in 1992, but then I took a long break to raise my two sons. All that time, I still read my lodge’s trestleboard messages and received California Freemason magazine, and that made me want to return. Then, one day in 2016, Jay Pon, who was the master of Phoenix № 144, contacted me as part of an effort to reconnect with inactive members. He was the first person to ever reach out to me like that. When I came back, everyone received me as if I had never left. It was all new people, but what wasn’t different was the brotherhood.

CFM: How did you first discover Masonry?
FC: When I was 13, I joined the Philippine Kong Han Athletic Club. It’s a Chinese Five Ancestor Fist-style martial art. Later, when I moved to the U.S., I was always in search of a place where I could find that kind of brotherhood. That’s when I learned about Masonry from a friend. He knew someone at San Carlos 690 and we both decided to knock.

CFM: I understand you have a pretty specialized job.
FC: I’m a coffee machine technician, so I repair commercial coffee equipment. I visit cafes and restaurants, tech companies, five-star hotels, penthouses—anywhere that has large equipment. I always offer free troubleshooting before scheduling Coffee machine technician a visit. I’d hate to waste someone’s money on my time if the issue is as simple as cleaning something.

CFM: Do you ever meet other Masons on the job?
FC: If I’m ever near a lodge, I like to stop in and see if I can say hello. During work, I don’t wear anything Masonic like a pin or a hat. But over the years, I’ve met so many people from all walks of life, I’m sure a few were Masons and I just never knew. It helps to keep me humble.

CFM: What do you like most about your work?
FC: Commitment is always at the top of my agenda, because my clients need their machines for their livelihood. I’ve had people greet me and say, “My coffee savior is here!” Also, working on a machine at my shop is very meditative. My mind is clear, and there’s no pressure around me.” I can dive into the different parts of a machine like a superhero to locate the main culprit.

CFM: I know you’re also a donor to the California Masonic Foundation. What inspires you to give back?
FC: I believe giving back doesn’t always have to be financial. I enjoy donating my time as well. Francis Drake № 376 adopted Avalon Park in South San Francisco, so we visit there regularly to clean up. At Phoenix № 144, they do a lot of volunteering, whether it’s park cleanups or food bank efforts, and we’ve even worked with Raising a Reader to stuff bags of books. When my work schedule starts to free up, I’d like to connect with other lodges in the area and get more involved in their charity works, as well.

CFM: OK, so as an expert: What’s the perfect cup of coffee?
FC: My perfect cup of coffee will always be the first 16 ounces I drink in my office while I check my email and prepare what needs to be done for the day.

Photograph by:
Cayce Clifford

More from this issue: